Starting Jan. 1, the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas required agents and brokers to use new coverage and class codes that would distinguish commercial policies from personal lines policies filed with the agency.
According to a Nov. 23 news release, the change is due to a growing market that has produced changes in stakeholder needs. “SLTX is committed to understanding new developments and needs within the insurance industry to better capture various trends in growing markets,” said the news release. Codes have not undergone a full update, said SLTX, in over 20 years.
Also among the coding changes will be separating E&O Liability from what has been coded as Other Professional Liability within the Other Liability Line. At year-end 2020, $335.46 million in premium was reported in Other Professional Liability, the third largest subcategory of Other Liability, the coverage with the largest premium volume in the Texas surplus lines market.
Greg Brandon, executive director of SLTX, considered the change “a day-to-day operations change.” He told the Reporter that the change has been discussed with staff since June; nevertheless, it was not presented in any management reports during a formal meeting of the SLTX board of directors.
Brandon said filers gain efficiency with this change, and the SLTX staff gains efficiency and improved perspective. “The expansion of our coverage and class codes eliminates that reverse engineering aspect of making educated guesses to fit new lines of coverage into historical descriptions,” said Brandon. He said the change is consistent with existing and familiar codes used by the NAIC, WSIA and other state stamping offices, such as those used in Florida, California and New York.
Brandon said the agency is doing all it can to prepare filers for the change. The most significant impact, he said, will be on the automated filers. On Dec. 22, Brandon said the agency has been working with automated filers for about a month to evaluate their code mapping system and provide updates. “No automated filer is indicating that there will be any impact or delay in their filings starting Jan. 1 (due to the new coding requirements),” he said.
Other online filers will choose appropriate coverage and class codes from dropdown menus as they have in the past. The new drop down menu will offer a larger selection of categories.
Rosemarie Marshall, executive vice president of AmWINS Group and chairwoman of the SLTX board, said the new coding system will allow the stamping office to better respond to data calls from TDI. Brandon said that while TDI has asked for personal lines data distinguished from commercial lines in the past, SLTX was unable to provide full distinctions across all lines. He said that the department did not direct SLTX to implement the new coding system.
SLTX has posted some learning materials on its website to aid the transition and promised that agents will be notified as new training materials become available.